NEW YORK: Mars Inc., the international food group, has funded a new piece of research to help determine the most effective consumer-engagement drivers in television advertising.

The study, What Makes a Television Commercial Sell? Using Biometrics to Identify Successful Ads: A Demonstration of Neuromeasures' Potential on 100 Mars Brand Ads with Single-Source Data, appears as part of a special "What We Know About Television in Advertising Now" section in the latest issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

The study sought to identify evidence-based measures to inspire improved advertising practice and explore the factors behind advertising effectiveness.

More specifically, researchers from both the marketing industry and academia examined a dataset of over 100 ads for 20 brands owned by Mars Inc., and conducted lab-based tests with a sample topping 1,000 participants.

The paper's authors were Steven Bellman, Magda Nenycz-Thiel, Rachel Kennedy and Bruce McColl (all from the University of South Australia's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science), as well as Laurent Larguinat from Mars, Inc., and Duane Varan from MediaScience.

They summarised the task facing brand custodians as follows: "Advertisers should strive to know in advance how any advertisement is supposed to work and match validated neuromeasures with that outcome."

The Mars-sponsored study examined the effectiveness of skin conductance, IBI (the time between heartbeats in milliseconds), and facial expression detection (more specifically, smiling). And, from one tool to the next, the results offered a variety of consumer insights.

Even as a variety of new biometric tools become available to researchers, however, the selection of a specific instrument will be dictated by the circumstances and the specific marketing challenge.

As the authors write: "No single neuromeasure seems capable of identifying in-market success ... Marketers must select measures that match the intended response from the audience of that advertisement (e.g., laughter or being emotionally moved)."

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff